“Your greatest curse could be your greatest blessing”

Shadows, at times they are such a curse, but with a bit of creative manipulating they can be a wonderful blessing.

When working on a Hollywood set there are times I’ll will have the Grips (the guys who rig things, their name comes from old Hollywood “because you needed a strong hand grip to secure things”) set up a diffusion panel for me. If its going to be a full length shot for one or more talent you might end up seeing the edge of a 6×6, or up to a 20×20 foot frame’s shadow. Its a ugly hard edge on the ground.

Some of you may have used something very similar like Westcott’s Scrim Jim. If your going to shoot a medium to tight portrait no problem, the moment you pull back and widen your shot, there’s the curse, a hard edge shadow. Here’s what you do, go get some vines, branches or big leaves and place them on the edge of your frame, that will now create a shadow that looks like foliage. You can see in my images the Grips are preparing a 12×12 framed diffusion panel.

Throw some local leaves on the ground for some camouflage and now you have a beautiful diffused image that appears to have been shot under a canopy of foliage, what a blessing.

That’s a wrap, fade to black.

Mike is best known for his work on countless popular shows that are household names: CSI, CSI: Miami, CSI: NY, JAG, Boston Legal, Pretty Little Liars to name a few. His current projects are NCIS and NCIS: Los Angeles.

Mike is a Trainer for KelbyOne, and Los Angeles Center of Photography. Mike is also a member of the International Cinematographers Guild.

You can view Mikes work at .